Clint Eastwood characterises criticism of convention speech as 'from the left'

Clint Eastwood has spoken for the first time in defence of his widely mocked address at the Republican national convention, stating that the “unorthodox” approach of chastising an empty chair went down well with delegates in the hall.

In an interview with his local paper, the Carmel Pine Cone, Eastwood admitted that the decision to use the prop – in which an invisible President Barack Obama was apparently seated, offering the odd inaudible profanity in response to actor’s questioning – was a last minute addition to his star turn in Tampa.

But despite a response which was largely negative, Eastwood maintains that it was well-received by Republican leaders as well as rank-and-file members.

Romney On Omitting U.S. Troops From RNC Speech: ‘You Talk About Things You Think Are Important’

In an interview with Fox News this afternoon, Mitt Romney shot back at critics who complained that he didn’t mention Afghanistan or praise U.S. troops in his convention speech last week, arguing that he focused on issues that are “important.”

Fox News’s Brett Baier told Romney that “several speakers” at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week criticized the GOP presidential nominee for the omissions (actually it was right-wing foreign policy leader Bill Kristol who started the attacks) and asked him if he had any regrets. “I only regret you’re repeating it day in and day out,” Romney said, adding that his speech focused on things that are important:

Obama fell flat

A surprisingly long parade of Democrats and media commentators who didn’t think much of the speech described it less as a failure than a fizzle—an oddly missed opportunity to frame his presidency or the nation’s choice in a fresh or inspirational light.

Even those who liked the speech generally went no further than saying that Obama was effective in doing a job that needed to be done, in a tough-minded if prosaic style.

These shoulder-shrug reactions confront Obama with a question no one expected to be asking when the week in Charlotte began: How did a president for whom stirring speeches were the engine of his rise to power manage to give, at best, only the third-most compelling speech at a convention devoted to his own re-election?

Weak jobs report puts Obama's reelection message to the test

The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, a paltry figure that threatens to undermine President Obama’s case for a second term as he tries to carry forward the momentum from the Democratic National Convention. 

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, but only because more people gave up on looking for work.

Economists had expected upward of 150,000 new jobs last month.

Donna Edwards Afforded Rare Speech Opportunity at Convention

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It is fairly obvious that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has tried to turn the Democratic National Convention into a coming-out party for a future presidential run.

But obscured in the political shadow he cast, it was also a big week for another Maryland Democrat: Rep. Donna Edwards.

Opportunities to leverage a convention are rare and difficult for an ambitious politician to execute. How this week played out for her is a window into how a convention can elevate a backbencher within a political party’s hierarchy.

Romney’s Playing Field Narrows

Mitt Romney’s team announced last night, in the immediate wake of the Democratic convention, that it was unleashing a massive swing-state ad blitz. Since the announcement came well before the lousy jobs report, and even before the mixed reviews for Obama’s speech, it ought to be seen as an attempt to give Republicans a reason for enthusiasm. A closer look suggests more reason for GOP concern.

Romney is targeting eight states: Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire. No Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania. This is surely not because Romney is husbanding scarce cash. Campaign aides also told Fox News yesterday that they basically have so much money they have to come up with ways to get it out the door, Brewster’s Millions–style, before election day.

The President Plays It Safe

The strongest impression left by Mitt Romney’s convention speech last week was that the Republican nominee’s campaign sees itself on pace for a narrow victory in November, with no risks or course corrections needed. The impression left by President Obama’s convention speech tonight was that incumbent’s campaign feels exactly the same way. This was a pure stay-the-course speech, workmanlike and occasionally somewhat distant, with a few inspired and moving passages standing out amid a litany of rhetorical moves that the president has made many times before. There was only the most general sketch of a second term agenda, only a relatively cursory defense of the president’s economic stewardship, and mostly assertions, rather than sustained arguments, to back up his claim that the country is headed (slowly) in the right direction.

Obama’s Brief, Decisive Attack on Republican Foreign Policy Credentials

Some Republicans and conservatives bridled at Obama’s remark that Romney and Ryan are “new” to foreign policy. Of course, many of them made the same complaint against Obama, whose experience was indeed very limited. Obama and his supporters ignored it or sought to deflect it by appealing to good judgment. Regardless, one reason this jab irritates some Republicans so much is that it is a perfectly valid and fair criticism of the current Republican ticket, and it is one that they have used in the past and would have used if the roles were reversed this time.

Convention winners and losers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Democratic convention in Charlotte wasn’t flawless, but it achieved its mission of boosting President Obama’s chances of winning a second term.

The gathering of Democratic delegates yielded many winners, including the president, the first lady, the 42nd president and San Antonio’s mayor. Losers included a possible 2016 presidential candidate and the co-chairman of the platform committee.

The following is a rundown of the winners and losers:

Romney hits the ground running with ad blitz in swing states

Mitt Romney’s campaign on Friday released 15 new television ads that are set to air in eight battleground states.

The ads zero in on defense, manufacturing, energy regulations, home values and the deficit. The ads are already on the air in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Virginia.

The ad series is titled, “A better future” and each spot opens with a quote from Romney’s nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last week.